BC has some of the most outstanding sites in the world for concentrations of birds. For example, one tiny island sustains over half of the world’s population of Cassin’s Auklets, and millions of birds use the Fraser River Estuary each year as a migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway. The importance of these sites and many others in BC to the maintenance of the world’s bird populations and diversity is recognized internationally through their designation as Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).
The Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas program, initiated by BirdLife International in the 1980s, came to Canada in 1996 and is coordinated nationally by Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada. The IBA Program identifies, monitors and protects the most vital places in Canada for birds so that conservation action can be directed in the most effective way possible. There are nearly 600 Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas across Canada that provide habitat for threatened birds, large groups of birds, and birds found almost nowhere else on Earth.
Because nearly all of Canada’s birds migrate beyond our borders at some point in their lives, the real strength of the IBA program is its international scope. Migratory birds depend on Important Bird Areas to rest, feed, and breed. Without them, birds could not make their long and difficult journey each year. Since 1985, over 200 countries have joined to create a global network of more than 10,000 IBAs. Visit www.birdlife.org for more information on the global program and www.ibacanada.ca for more information about Canadian IBAs. Click the links at the top of the page for more information about the IBA Program in BC.
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